Profits slump at BMW car arm as tech costs climb

GERMAN luxury carmaker BMW said yesterday its third-quarter operating profit at its key automotive division fell more than expected due to the cost of new technology and price discounts in core European markets.

Munich-based BMW said the division’s earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) dropped six per cent to €1.55bn (£1.3bn), missing analysts’ expectations.

That reduced its automotive Ebit margin by half a percentage point to nine per cent in the quarter, compared with 9.4 per cent at Volkswagen’s Audi and 7.3 per cent at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz.

BMW is revamping its product line-up, launching a combined 25 new vehicles this year and next.

The cost of launching the all-electric i3 compact, due to hit showrooms this month, and other technologies are weighing on company books.

BMW stood by its forecast for a full-year automotive Ebit margin between eight and 10 per cent and group pre-tax profit on a similar level to last year’s €7.82bn, though it cautioned conditions in auto markets may remain “volatile and challenging” in coming months.

The carmaker is counting on new models including the overhauled 5-Series saloon, the next generation of the X5 SUV and the 4-Series coupe to keep up its sales momentum.

Global deliveries, also including Rolls-Royce and Mini brand cars, may post single-digit percentage growth to a new record, BMW said, reaffirming targets.